Friday, February 20, 2009

On Sunday, it was time as usual to go to Ruffian's house for a grooming day and a playdate.
As you all know by now, Ruffian is my half-brother. We share the same dam "mother dog". Ruffian was having phase 3 done and he looks much more handsome now.
We are starting to look more and more alike, as we go along the phases of his grooming process. After next Sunday, we will look practically alike because he will be completed with phase 4.
Here we are sniffing about his front yard, checking out the interesting scents.
Furry butts by the backdoor.

Ruffian marks the plant while I check out his neighborhood. We are taking a lunch break from his grooming.
Play wrestling in his yard
Who let the dogs out? Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Let's play Ruff!! Communicating to Ruffian with my play bow that it's time to play.

Ruffian drinks from his bowl by slinking all the way down. I do that too sometimes. Maybe we're a little lazy or tired from all the playing. I wonder if the other Airedales all around the world do the same funny lazy drinking action. As you can tell from this pic, his head had been stripped halfway, and his left chest/shoulder too. What a funny looking dog... I was looking odd too for a long while, thank goodness I'm all done now.


All Done After Phase 4

Finally Mum has finished grooming me with Phase 4. Here is how I look when I'm done with all the hair plucked out. Not too bad, but I'll look less bald in 2 weeks, and I'll look normal again.
My side profile
Mum prefers that I'm all neatly groomed because I look less lethargic and sleepy. I'm a lot more alert looking when the facial hair is taken away from my eyes and the cheeks have been taken in.

Stacking naturally on the bench, checking out my property

Sarah my housemate, started calling me blockhead. I can see why, my head is shaped to look like a brick.

The difference can be quite drastic don't you think?
The hair off the neck, throat and cheeks seem to elongate my neck, but it's really just a visual illusion.

The most amazing difference is my head. There is no longer a 'step' on my forehead where the fur grows thicker between my eyes and on my muzzle. There is a gentle slope down the flat point between my eyes to my nose. The lines have disappeared. My facial furnishings under the eyes are left a bit longer so that they can be blended in nicely with my cheeks when my coat grows in 2 weeks. My eye brows are taken in tightly to show off my beautiful deep brown eyes. But mostly, my head looks like a brick from the front and the sides.

Thank you all for your compliments. Mum works very hard to keep me looking good, but this is her duty, that's part of owning an Airedale. And me? I deserve the best.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Phase 3 in Handstripping

This blog entry will be about Phase 3 in Handstripping.

Handstripping is a technique used for grooming hard-coated breeds, like the Airedale Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Westie, Irish, Welsh, and so on... Most pet terriers don't need to be stripped since they aren't being shown in the ring, but ALL terriers being shown must be handstripped.
It is the correct method for grooming terriers, but it is time consuming, expensive, and labor intensive. As such, most owners only clip (shave) their pets.

Terriers that need to be shown, must also be trained to endure Handstripping. From a young age, they must be willing to stand, or sit, or lay on top of the grooming table for HOURS for the handstripping process. For the groomer, handstripping is not for the faint of heart. It takes strength, technique, patience and an eye for lines and detail.

The main advantages of handstripping versus pet clipping:
  1. Maintains wiry coat, harsh texture [Correct] - clipping causes woolly soft texture [fault]
  2. Maintains rich deep colors - black and tan [Correct] - clipping changes coat color to beige [fault]
  3. Maintains "water/dirt-resistance" quality - clipping causes soft coats to trap water and dirt easily
Clipping and scissoring a pet takes 2-3 hours, $70 max, but handstripping the same dog takes 12-15 hours and about $500.

There are a few variations to handstripping. Some groomers prefer "Rolling" which is to fold the skin and pull out only the longest hairs, over the entire body. Rolling needs to be done everyday, consistently and hence, very time consuming. The "Reverse Strip" technique which I use, only requires a day or 2 a week, spread out over 6 weeks to attain the desired outcome at the end. It is called the "Reverse Strip" technique because the phases are determined by the length of hair on a particular body part. The longest parts are pulled first, leaving the shortest to the end. The purpose is to create the various lengths required on the show dog to accentuate muscles and other desired qualities, such as a deep chest, square body line and straight back, etc.

The phases are as follows:
  1. Saddle (black section)
  2. Back of Neck, Tail, Thighs, Butt
  3. Shoulders, Head, Ears, Sides of Neck, Chest
  4. Cheeks, Throat, Chin
The last phase is "Finishing" whereby all the furnishings are blended into the body and lines are made to disappear. The leg hair is plucked to make the legs appear like straight poles. The Head is made to look like a rectangular block of brick.

I know Kimi looks like a VERY strange dog at this phase.

There is a seam at the sides of the dog's neck, and another seam on his chest, and the last seam is on his butt. The butt seams look like little spirals, similar to human hair spirals on the head. Seams need extra care in handstripping because the hairs grow in all sorts of directions. Stripping should be done only in the direction of hair growth. Only a little bit of hair should be pulled with one stroke of the hand. Too much hair at a go will cause pain and discomfort for the dog.
Kimi can fall asleep while being stripped, the rhythm lulls him to sleep, and he naps with his head on my lap sometimes. He has been handstripped ever since he was 6 months old.
This is a closer picture showing him and the depicted 4 phases. You will notice that by now, there is a distinct color difference between Phase 1 (saddle), Phase 2 and 3. Phase 1 seems darker, and phase 2 is lighter while phase 3 seems lightest (almost bald). A newly stripped area is practically bald. Only a light coating of undercoat fuzz is left. The apparent change in color is actually the coat growing out at different time lapses, hence different lengths as required for show. I have not groomed him in Phase 4, that is why his face and neck is utterly a curly mess of fur. Phase 4 will be done next week.
Kimi is not shown in the ring, but I take great pride in his beauty and structure, and as a professional groomer, I also take great pride in my grooming abilities. I like Kimi maintained in show dog standards, so I keep him looking his best.

For those of you who enjoy handstripping, I hope you like this little entry on Handstripping.

Kimi's Mum,

Superbowl Sunday

Japhy and Me

Japhy is a mutt. He is part Rottie, Lab, and Shepherd. Japhy is old, 12yo and he thinks he is human. He belongs to Steve, Rob's brother, and he is a dearly beloved dog. Everyone who meets Japhy loves Japhy. No doubt about it. I've been hanging out with this old pal, but I've never had any photos taken with him, so I made mum take these pics of him.

As you can probably tell, Japhy loves to smile. Like I said, he thinks he's human.
Japhy and a lot of human folks came over to our house for Superbowl Sunday. Everyone kinda lazed around, eating lots of goodies all day, and just watched tv. Japhy and I each had a marrow bone to chew on, but Japhy loved my buffalo bone A LOT.

When this photo was taken, I was just handstripped through phase 2. Japhy and I were taking a pee break out in our yard.

Japhy sat on the sofa like the rest of the humans, and I got to lounge on the mattress on the floor.

I was trying to squeeze my butt on the sofa too, just like everybody else. I'm sure there was space for me.

Phase 2 of handstripping.
The saddle is gone, butt, upper thighs, tail, back of neck, and top of shoulders.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Penrose Pt

Looking like an ewok with my winter coat isn't necessarily a bad thing. I turn on my cute face and stick out my tongue, and Mum feels compelled to take me to the park to play ball. Somehow or rather, she has a hard time resisting my deep brown eyes. She says I got my brown eyes from her. I wear my coat out because it's cold out here in Washington's winter. I need to get stripped in phases so that I turn out handsome by Spring. Mum says she takes a lot of pride in me, so I must be the best. She won't take anything less.

Furry, fuzzy butt, legs, chest, shoulders, head and face. It's not always about looks. But an Airedale can look fantastic ungroomed, and even more outstanding groomed.

This upcoming week, Mum grooms me in phase 3.

Stay tuned for more pics.


Playdate with Ruffian

I have a half brother who lives nearby from me in Poulsbo. Ruffian shares the same dam (Twinkle) as I do, and his sire is Paddy, while mine is Maxx. Ruff is 1 year older than I, and he looks very much like me, as you can just imagine our similarities, coming from the same dam. He is such a beautiful specimen of our breed, his human Mum has decided to show him. That's where my human mum and I come in. I get to come along whenever Mum needs to handstrip Ruff. This entry is about our playdate as he gets groomed.

I look on, while Ruff marks his territory.

Ruff and I get along very well. That's Ruff before he gets his saddle stripped out. Can you see how we look so alike? I can only see 1 difference, Ruff has a black drizzle of black on his muzzle while mine stays all tan. After our initial introduction and posturing, we got on to business and marked all the bushes and trees. Then we wrestled for a while and sniffed each other silly.

Exploring the bushes on his territory. Ruffian was very nice showing me where his favorite pee spots were.

Ruff also has more leg furnishings than I do. He has a beautiful straight back and a nice square body outline. A lot of people think I'm good enough to be shown because I'm structurally beautiful too, but my breeder said I wasn't ballsy enough. And my back isn't straight enough either. I'm just glad Mum isn't into the whole show ring thing. I think to be shown is a very stressful thing. Good luck Ruffian.

A closer pic of Ruff and me. See the black dash on his muzzle?
Ruff was more recently clipped than I so he looks better facially. I've got my winter ewok coat so my face looks very broad. After our 4th stage of handstripping, we will look almost identical. I can't wait to see how we both turn out.

At the end of the day, Ruffian had his saddle stripped out just like me. Very soon, we will look indistinguishable. The only tell tale sign will be his black drizzle on his muzzle. I will get to see Ruff again next Sunday. While he gets stripped by Mum, I get to exercise on his treadmill. Its great fun. I can't wait to visit Ruffian again.


Sunset Reflections

I wanted to take some time out to reflect on life. I've just turned 3, and I'm grateful to be considered the lucky few in the world, to be truly loved, appreciated, cared for, and to have all my needs fulfilled and more. I have so much to be thankful for, but I wish more for the world I live in.
There are many others in the world who are lonely. Hungry. Neglected. Abused. Forgotten. Exploited. Mistreated. Misunderstood. Discarded. Beaten. Unloved. Unwanted.

Some humans think they know everything. Ignorance combined with arrogance is a deadly mix of human characteristics. It starts wars, causes fights, misery and a lot of pain. Humans hurt each other all the time, for silly reasons. Well, we dogs have fights too, but most of the time, we just want to intimidate and dominate by show of the teeth and the standing hair on our backs. We don't normally fight to the death. But humans have the capacity to hurt all other species on Earth, not just each other. Yet, other humans have such great capacity for love, nurturing, altruism, and selflessness. I've known humans who do Airedale Rescue selflessly. They have such big hearts and wonderful attitudes. The world needs more people who love.
I love.
I kiss.
I wag.
I listen.
I stay close.
I always return.
My pack is my everything.


Happy Chinese New Year (before I forget)

Gong Xi Fa Cai, Wan Shi Ru Yi, Xing Nian Quai Le
Happy Chinese New Year! Today is the 6th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, and I decided to write an entry for my blog before it is all over. This is the year of the Ox.

Mum decided that I would pose for a pic with the Figure depicting the Deity of Fortune. I wasn't so pleased, but since she had a treat, I posed with the paper dude.

If you ask me, CNY wasn't much different from any other day. I got to lounge around, chew on my buffalo bone, relax, get pampered, play, eat, sleep, poop, mark, bark a little, run around, so I didn't know what the fuss was about. Mum said, back home in Singapore, it'd be way more fun, with family and friends visiting each other with lots of goodies, treats, food, tarts, fruits, all kinds of stuff. But here in the US, we didn't have anybody, so it was a quiet CNY.

Lounging as usual in my room (uhum! Mum's room)
Note also how my coat has become so woolly and untidy. This is before I get handstripped again.

Then Mum decided that since the sun was shining, and it was CNY, we'd go to the beach to celebrate.
My ball, I was trying to fetch my ball in the water, but each time I pawed at it, it got a little deeper. Mum was getting frantic because she didn't want to get into the freezing water, and she kept urging me to bring it back. I was trying very hard as you can tell. (Remember, I don't know how to swim)
Hanging out with Rob on CNY

If you're wondering about my tail, and how it got so thin, don't be alarmed. I just got handstripped, so my saddle and tail are now naked and bare.

Mum and I at the pier

Then I met this dude, who was catching crabs in a pot. Poor fella, he caught only 1 tiny miserable crab, but it was interesting enough for me. I had never seen one so close. He even let me sniff at it. He said, "Careful, you don't want your nose pinched". So I crept close and stuck my nose at it carefully. Thank goodness nothing happened.

Little crab scuttling around

This is a recent picture of me at my house. I wanted to show you what happened to my coat. The coat on the saddle and tail are gone. Mum's started handstripping me again, and I look like I've got mange or some bizarre skin disease. That's why I have to wear my coat out nowadays, so I don't weird people out. It's also to keep me warm since its still pretty cold out and I'm naked!

I really don't mind being handstripped. If you ask me, what it feels like, I'll say it looks like Mum's plucking out chicken feathers from a chicken. It doesn't hurt as long as she doesn't pull too much out at a time. I can fall asleep to the rhythm, and it lulls me off to dreamland.